Eph 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” I often quote verses eight & nine, along with several others, in order to prove that salvation is utterly and completely a gift from God. You absolutely cannot earn it; it can only be received by faith. If you could earn one ounce of salvation, it would be a debt that God owes you: and we know God will owe no man eternal life (Rom 6:23).
However, in an attempt to pull people out of the guilt and condemnation rut that they’re in because of religious law performance teaching; some folks may start to think that good works don’t matter. I do not take this personally, because the same thing happened in Paul’s day (2Pt 3:15-16). In fact, there were some people who actually said that since when sin abounds in our life, God’s grace abounds more; we should sin more, so God’s grace will abound more! Wrong! (Rom 5:20, 3:8) Good works do matter; just not for the reasons some might think.
Good works: show your faith (Jam 2:18); cause men to glorify God (Mt 5:16); are a characteristic of disciples (Act 9:36), of Godly women (1Tim 2:9-10), of true Christian widows (1Tim 5:9-10). Good works are what wealthy Christians should be known for (1Tim 6:17-18). Good works are a result of studying God’s Word (2Tim 3:16-17). Good works are a characteristic of the wise (Jam 3:13). Good works will make you a good witness, and shut the mouths of foolish men who mock the church (1Pt 2:12, 15). When Christians start living what they say they believe, they’ll have more opportunity to speak their faith. Until then, you’ll just sound like the teacher on Charlie Brown. Yet, when you walk out your faith, it will cause those who speak evil of you to be ashamed; because they have no legitimate accusation against you (1Pt 3:15-17).
Did you know that you’re supposed to go to church and provoke your brothers and sisters in Christ? That’s what The Bible says (Heb 10:24). Let’s go to Titus, the good works book. Titus 1:16 says that we can profess Jesus with our mouth, but deny Him with our actions. Our works must agree with our confession. In chp 2:7, it says pastors must be the example of good works. A preacher’s words hold no weight; if their life does not demonstrate. In vs. 13-14, it says that we as Christians should be zealous (passionate; on fire for) of good works. In 3:8, Paul told Pastor Titus to affirm constantly (declare often) that Christians should maintain good works, for they are good and profitable to men & that they be not unfruitful (3:14). Jesus said that we would know a tree by it’s fruit (Mt 7:17-19, 12:33).
Are you one of those people that always has to give your résumé? Do you constantly “toot your own horn”? Let your actions speak for themselves. Most of the truly committed, faithful, abounding with good works Christians I know; rarely, if ever, talk about what they’ve done. They don’t need to, their actions speak for themselves.
Good works are no doubt important. As we saw in Eph 2:10, we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works. God has ordained us to walk in these good works. I believe it was John Calvin who said “Faith alone saves; but saving faith is never alone”. Good works are the fruit, and not the root, of salvation. If you abide in Christ, you will bear much fruit (Jn 15:1-5). The key is not trying to bear good fruit; the key is abiding in Christ. If you stay constantly plugged in to Jesus, then you will bear good fruit. If you don’t, then you won’t. I pray this has blessed you, and provoked you to good works. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord! (Phi 4:4)